Laguna Beach Mud Slide

July 17, 2007
Salina Villegas

A mudslide destroyed 20 Laguna Beach homes early Sunday morning, displacing at least 45 residents and injuring 10 others. At least one of the injured residents is in critical condition.

The mudslide occurred between four and five in the morning after four hours of heavy rains. James Perez, Secretary of Environmental Policy, estimated the storm had caused $100 million in damages. He also predicted clean up would take three months and one year to rebuild the damaged homes.

Residents complained they were not forewarned prior to the incident, and the government has been slow to respond with aid. The government claims they sent out pre-cautions concerning the mudslides through mail and other actions.
The supposed preventative measures did not stop the damage in resident’s lives. Deborah Wilson, fifty-eight year old retired nurse, felt the sounds of the horrid incident resembled world end. As she escaped the disaster of her deteriorating home, Wilson stood in her front yard watching her house slither 100 ft. off the steep. Wilson lost everything she had, including the ashes of her beloved husband.

Some residents are taking drastic measures to help stabilize themselves and their families. With no shelter provided by the government, Robert Lecusay, thirty-eight year old homeowner in Laguna, is forced to sleep in his car with his two sons. He takes pit stops at a nearby McDonalds and eats store-bought foods.

Measures are presumably being taken by the government to provide shelter for mudslide victims. Residents should be notified within 2 weeks of available housing units, according government officials. Locations of the shelter are expected to be 2-3 miles inland of Laguna Beach.

“Take it from me,” said Lecusay. “They’re not providing anything.”

Lecusay recently discovered his insurance does not cover his disaster. He will have to wait one month before he can get the information regarding availability. Though devastated by the accident, Lecusay does not plan on relocating.

Hydro-geologist Carl McKinney says the homes should have never been developed in the first place. Currently, he opposes building renovation. The homes are fairly stable, but not in storms, said McKinney. He continued to add that during storms is when the soil becomes saturated and suddenly liquefies, quickly diminishing whatever is in its track.

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